March Folklore

The March Moons

The Full Moon on the 5th March;

  • Native American – Worm Moon
  • Colonial American – Fish Moon
  • Old English – Lenten Moon
  • Celtic – Winds Moon
  • Wiccan – Chaste Moon
  • Pagan – Death Moon

New Moon on the 20th March (one day before Ostara)

  • Native American – Pink Moon
  • Old American – Planter Moon
  • Old English – Egg Moon
  • Celtic – Growing Moon
  • Wiccan – Seed Moon
  • Pagan – Awakening Moon

This was the first month of the year till 1752, commencing on March 25th. Scotland changed the month to January in 1599, but the rest of the world was slow in following. This month was called ‘Marius’ by the Romans from their god Mars. The Anglos Saxons called the month ‘Hlyd Monath’ which meant loud or stormy. The Native Americans called the month ‘Worm Moon’ because as the temperatures began to warm and the ground began to thaw, earthworm casts appeared, heralding the return of the robins, and the last moon of winter. Colors of March are all shades of red. March’s birthstone is aquamarine. March’s flowers are violets for the English – I was suprised by this, as March for me immediately brings to mind Daffodils.

Folklore for March:

‘March comes in like a Lion and goes out like a Lamb’

This well known saying is derived from the observation that March begins in winter and ends in spring. In northern latitudes, temperatures are generally higher by the end of the month than during its first weeks. We may also look to the heavens to determine an explanation, the constellation of Leo, the lion, dominates the skies at the beginning of the month and the constellation Aries, the ram or lamb, prevails as the month winds down.

The last three days of March are called the Borrowing Days, said to have been a loan from April to March, the legend goes that March had a spite against an old woman, and wished to kill her cow; failing to do so in his own month, he borrowed three days of April to enable him to complete the task;

‘March borrowed from April Three days, and they were ill; The first was frost, the second was snaw, The third was cauld as ever’t could blaw.

Mad as a March Hare

Hares have long been thought to behave excitedly in March, which is their mating season. Lewis Carroll is among many who have used this idea in stories – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland:

“The March Hare … as this is May, it won’t be raving mad – at least not so mad as it was in March.”

More recently this behaviour has been questioned and it is now thought that hares behave oddly – boxing, jumping etc. – throughout their breeding season, which extends over several months. e that as it may, hares, especially March hares, have that reputation, which will surely stay with them. he first record of the belief in their madness, or in this case their brainlessness, was circa 1500, in Blowbol’s Test reprinted by W. C. Hazlitt in Remains Early Popular Poetry of England, 1864:

“Thanne [th]ey begyn to swere and to stare, And be as braynles as a Marshe hare.”

Of course, the phrase ‘hare brained’ refers to the same behaviour. This is also old and is referenced in Edward Hall’s Chronicle, 1548:

“My desire is that none of you be so unadvised or harebrained as to be the occasion that …”

The first citation that uses the phrase in a form we now know it is in 1529, in Sir Thomas More’s The supplycacyon of soulys:

“As mad not as a march hare, but as a madde dogge.”

The phrase has been in continuous use in the language since the 16th century and long may it remain.

The beautiful image is ‘March Hare at Sunset’ by Sheila Williams

Information from; Folklore & Legend, Folklore Net, Olde English Translations and Moon CyclesHare at sunset cropped


  1. Love the painting! There are many hares on the fields here, but I only see them in March and April, when they behave this way. I find it exhilirating to see them like that, it’s a sure sign of spring


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